TOC - Loss Angeles

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 164
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:10:00

This album is very different ? yet there's nothing new here at all. Let me explain:

There are no new sounds here. TOC doesn't push any envelopes, and you could probably find a comfortable home for every one of these songs in the discography of some other band. However, no two songs are alike, and this mix of styles is unique.

Finnish band Throne Of Chaos - now called simply "TOC" - released their first full album around 1999. I might have simply described their early sound as imaginative death metal, but according to the band it was "keyboard driven old school black metal." Well ? okay. But after 2 demo and 3 full albums, only trace elements of those early influences remain and they've matured into a progressive metal band with no great creative flair but with good musicianship and refreshing versatility. The album was recorded in Frederick (Dream Evil) Nordström's prestigious Studio Fredman, which is in Gothenburg, Sweden.

It is hard to pick a standout track because several are excellent and because they're all so different. Perhaps the power ballad "Mary Lou Is Dead" deserves special mention, because it recalls the best of Queensryche or Dream Theater, and leaves Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" in the cold. It is an emotional tug-the-heartstrings piece with wonderfully elegant instrumental backing and an accented Geoff Tate-esque vocal quality.

"Acid Highway" is a very competent 5-minute progressive metal piece that shifts and changes comfortably and won't stretch your imagination although it is a pleasant listen with plenty of throwbacks to the lighter side of '80s-metal. Opener "The Window" ranges from Nektar-reminiscent 1970s rock, through Cantebury-inspired fusion complete with Fender Rhoads, and back to contemporary but lightweight metal. Some tracks have a small amount of death metal grunting and a large amount of death-metal heaviness and chord progressions reminding you of TOC's history as a death / thrash outfit. See? There's something for everyone here.

There is a downside to this album, though. TOC has tacked two pieces onto the end of the album: Judas Priest Song "Night Crawler," which is reasonably played, and Deep Purple's seminal "Smoke On The Water" which sounds horrid. I am not a fan of covers. I've heard all the arguments, but my opinion remains that if the band is capable of creating good music of their own, then covers are simply filler - or worse, they're just plain lazy. TOC has put a death-metal spin on "Smoke On The Water" which I think is supposed to be funny. My system has been programmed to never ever play the last two tracks on the album.

The other 9 tracks are very good. More important, because of the diversity of sounds among the tracks, you'll find it very easy to play Loss Angeles again and again.

Released in North America by InsideOut Music America (IOMA 2078)

The Window / Mary Lou Is Dead / Acid Highway / Gothamburg / Blue Lady / Wait / The Blue Lady Suite / Break A Neck / Bite The Bullet / Smoke On The Water / Night Crawler

Tuomas Nieminen ? vocals
Taneli Kiljunen - guitar
Joiku Harmaja - guitar
Rasmus Nora - bass
Carl Sjöblom - keyboards
Snake Laitinen - drums

Menace And Prayer (2000)
Pervertigo (2002)
Loss Angeles (2004)

Genre: Rock

Origin FI

Added: June 23rd 2004
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Hits: 844
Language: english


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